Globalization and the Role of Educational Travel to Israel in the Ethnification of American Jews

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The globalization of contemporary life has been observed as having the twin consequences of, on the one hand, the homogenization of different cultures, while, on the other it brings out the commonality of all cultures relativization due to the heightened contact between them. Globalization also generates a renewed ethnicity as a response to cultural homogenization. This study will present, through comparative longitudinal analysis, the changes in Jewish identity of North American college—age Jews from their arrival in Israel as volunteer tourists, the conclusion of their programme, as well as after they have returned to their home country. The analysis utilizes two multistage longitudinal data sets:(l) data gathered in North America, through mail survey, from 362 alumni who participated in the Otzma programme during 1987ndash;1995, (2) data gathered from 269 Oren Kibbutz Institute alumni who participated in the programme during 1989ndash;1994 (a period of stable performance of the inbound tourist flow to Israel). The mail survey on which this data is based was conducted between 1994 (Oren) and 1996 (Otzma), with a follow up response rate of 52% among Otzma alumni and 54% among Oren alumni. It seems that during the years that have passed since participation in both programmes, the participant's ethnic identity as American Jews has become stronger since their Israel volunteer tourism experience. Indeed, while participants in each programme started out with quite different pre-programme scores, (Otzma being higher than Oren), the pattern and gradient of increase among alumni of both programmes was found to be strikingly similar. Thus, somewhat paradoxically, the globalization of the macro categories of cultural identity, rather than leading to homogenization may serve to predispose the ethnification and cultural renewal of American Jews through the medium of volunteer travel, by way of the individual choice to experience Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-24
Number of pages10
JournalTourism Recreation Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2003

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2003 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


  • American jews
  • Globalization
  • education travel
  • volunteer travel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Cultural Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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